Bomber's hometown celebrates attack

Chanting Allahu Akbar, some 3,000 people, including Fatah and Jihad gunmen, converged on bomber's home.

hadera bomber 88 (photo credit: )
hadera bomber 88
(photo credit: )
Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Kabatiya, south of Jenin, Wednesday night to celebrate the suicide bombing in Hadera, which was carried out by local resident Hassan Abu Zeid.

Chanting Allahu Akbar (God is great), some 3,000 people, including Fatah and Islamic Jihad gunmen, converged on Abu Zeid's home to "congratulate" his family on the success of the attack, which killed five people and wounded more than 30.

They also called for more suicide attacks in Israel.

"With blood, with soul, we redeem Hassan," the crowd chanted. "Oh Jihad, Jihad, give us more [suicide] bombings. Oh [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon, prepare more coffins."

Shortly after the attack, Islamic Jihad activists shouted through loudspeakers in the town that the suicide bomber was Abu Zeid, 26, a member of the organization's armed wing, Al-Quds Brigades. They said the attack was carried out to avenge the killing earlier this week of top Islamic Jihad operative Luai Sa'adi in Tulkarm.

Abu Zeid's mother, Um Hassan, said she was proud of her son for what he did. Her husband, Ahmed, a blacksmith who was later arrested by the IDF, greeted the well-wishers with tears in his eyes.

"I'm proud of my son and hope that he will enter heaven," the mother declared.

"We're all your sons," shouted one of the men as several women ululated in an expression of joy.

According to the family, Abu Zeid left home just before sunrise on Wednesday, saying he was on his way to dawn prayers at a local mosque.

"There was nothing unusual about his behavior," said one family member. "He didn't say anything about his plans."

Another relative described Abu Zeid as a "normal and quiet person" who rarely talked about political matters.

"He used to work with his father and was never known as a religious extremist," he said. "We never heard that he was wanted by Israel."

The mother said she first heard about her son's involvement in the attack as she and the rest of the family were preparing for the breaking meal of the fasting month of Ramadan.

"Some men started shouting through loudspeakers that the suicide bomber who carried out the attack in Hadera was Hassan Abu Zeid," she said. "We were all in a state of shock."

Later in the day the family, with the help of hundreds of young men, removed all furniture from the house for fear that the IDF would demolish it.

Khaled al-Batsh, a senior Islamic Jihad leader in the Gaza Strip, lashed out at the Palestinian Authority for condemning the Hadera attack, vowing to step up suicide bombings in Israel. However, he said his organization would abide by the unofficial truce with Israel only if Israel honored it and halted its "aggression" on the Palestinians.

"Nineteen Islamic Jihad members have been killed by Israel during the period of calm," Batsh said. "This means that Israel isn't abiding by the truce. It is therefore inconceivable that we abide by the truce unilaterally."